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Moritz Kayser * 1882

Harvestehuder Weg 114 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1882

further stumbling stones in Harvestehuder Weg 114:
Anna Kayser

Moritz Kayser, born 1 Aug. 1882 in Lehe, murdered on 13 Jan. 1943 in Auschwitz
Anna Kayser, née Josephs, born 12 April 1883 in Jever/East Friesland, murdered on 7 July 1944 in Auschwitz

Moritz Kayser was born on August 1st, 1882 in Lehe as the son of Heinrich and Jeanette Kayser, née Cohen. After attending elementary school and completing secondary school in Geestemeünde, Moritz Kayser absolved an apprenticeship as a Banker.
At the age of 24, he enter3ed his father’s Company, Firma Kayser Im-und Export (headquarters in Bremerhaven).

He met Anna Josephs, and they got married on Oct 21st, 1906. On September 14th, the Kayser couple became a family: their daughter Ruth was born. A further child, a son, died in infancy.
In his CV, Moritz Kayser gave an account of the founding of a branch of the Bremerhaven company in Hamburg in 1914. Since approx. 1924 (the exact date is unknown), the family lived at Harvestehuder Weg 114.

During World War I, Moritz Kayser worked in the intelligence service of the Great General Staff, procuring vital and strategic materials from neutral countries as well as information. Beginning as early as 1910, Moritz Kayser had engaged in commercial shipping and eventually formed a small shipping company. After the war, he was the first German Ship-owner to buy five larger steamers in England to contribute to the reconstruction of the German merchant fleet. His claim against the German Reich for the proceeds from the re-sale of those ships was, however, not honored (quote from the CV: "In 1923/24, I had a receivable of about 2 million marks in gold for the delivered ships, which I did not get due to the devaluation of the capital of the ‘Schiffbau Treuhandbank‘, and due to the non-payment by the previous Reich, I was forced to sell my ships and start all over again." Moritz Kayser continued his CV with the year 1936, when he decided to emigrate to Holland, with reference to the difficulties for Jewish merchants beginning in that year.

So, the Kayser family left Germany for Holland in October, 1936. Their address was now Honthorststraat 30, Amsterdam.

Moritz Kayser did not return to Hamburg. For s short time, he continued his Hamburg business from Amsterdam, instructing his lady employee by telephone. He probably suspected that there was an investigation running against him. Respective information is contained in an audit report on foreign currency trade of November 24th, 1936. This audit had been initiated in connection with foreign currency trade audits conducted at several other merchants’ companies due to suspected major-volume "illegal currency transactions” in which Moritz Kayser was supposed to be substantially involved. He was accused of having exported goods for approx. 500,000 RM without having received the due payment from abroad.

The Customs Investigation Department headed by Zollrat Hackbarth filed a criminal complaint against Moritz Kayser and other persons and companies on December 3rd, 1936 and an application for an order of arrest with the head of the Hamburg Department of Prosecution on December 12th, 1936.

The Customs Investigation Department forwarded its report to the Prosecutor’s Office in May, 1937. In Herr Hackbarth‘s accompanying letter, we found numerous typical anti-Semitic statements, e.g.: "By our comprehensive investigative activities, we succeeded in breaking into a cohesive Jewish front”, or "These manufacturers’ lacking sense of responsibility only gave the Jewish grafters the opportunities for their foul deeds”, and more of the like.
In an initial measure, Moritz Kayser was prohibited from supplying and shipping goods of any kind abroad. Allegedly, this ban was ignored, so that, on January 27th, 1937, an order depriving him of the disposition of his assets of any kind was issued. It is likely that this order did not reach him, due to the fact that he was out of the country.

The collected "facts” led to the opening of a complex court procedure on account of violation of the currency laws that eventually led to the conviction of several persons on account of the 1935 currency laws on January 13th, 1938.

The High court knew that Moritz Kayser was in Holland, so that he was represented by the non-Jewish Hamburg Attorney Dr. H. Brunk.

The court did not follow the arguments in the final speech of the defense, and Moritz Kayser was sentenced in absentia (as a "fugitive”) to ten years in prison plus a fine of 500,000 RM. A revision of the sentence pronounced June 26th, 1940, resulted in 5 years in prison, 5 years loss of civil rights and a fine of 230,000 RM.

On October 8th, an arrest warrant was issued for Moritz Kayser, and executed in Holland on October 26th, 1940. The Currency Protection Command delivered him to the jail in Kleve, Germany, where the arrest warrant was pronounced to him on November 18th, 1940.
From there, Kayser was brought to the Hamburg remand center in Holstenglacis. From August 5th, 1941 on, he served his further sentence at Hamburg’s Fuhlsbüttel Prison as Z500/41 he "moved” into cell 117, following the prescribed entry examination to determine the state of his health and his suitability for labor. Moritz Kayser was classified as "not suitable for moor, outside and brigade labor." However, he was deemed capable of working inside the prison, he was assigned to a job as "paper bag paster” in the bookbinding shop.

In 1941, he made a mercy plea, offering a settlement payment. Various departments of the prison administration gave an opinion on his appeal. Thus, the head of the workshop found that Kayser did good work, considering his age. And it is reported that "for a Jew, he has quite an amenable nature.” At the end of the assessment form, there is the lapidary comment by the final assessor: "Is a Jew.” Summing up, the approval of the appeal is denied. A quote from the letter to the Prosecutor: "His demeanor is disciplined, but slick and Jewish…. I do not approve the appeal.”
The Hamburg High Court, 4th Criminal Division, rejected the appeal.

Moritz Kayser was allowed to correspond with his attorney and his company in Holland, and once had the visit of his brother-in-law Bernhard Weinberg, who had permission to visit him once every four months beginning May 13th, 1942 without having to make further applications. But this was not to come about: on July 15th, 1942, Bernhard Weinberg was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto together with his wife Friederike, Moritz Kayser’s sister.

Two versions exist regarding the last weeks of Moritz Kayser’s life: in the Memorial Book of the Federal Archive in Koblenz, September 10th, 1942 is recorded as the date of deportation and December 31st, 1942 as the date of his death.
The database of the Yad Vashem Memorial gives differing dates, and they correspond to the following data from the Fuhlsbüttel prison record: on the cover of the folder there is the note: Transferred to KZ Auschwitz 10/12/1942; "With the handover to the police, the punishment is considered as interrupted!”
(In fulfillment of the order of the Reich Minister of Justice of 22/10/1942–Iva-1665/42g)

This measure was taken on account of the order of the Nazi government of October/November 1942 aimed at rendering the prisons and jails of the German Reich "free of Jews" by transferring them to Auschwitz.

Moritz Kayser‘s life ended at 60 years on Wednesday, January 13th, 1943.

Anna Kayser was born on April 12th, 1883 in Jever in East Friesland. Her parents were Nathan David Josephs (1840–1923 Jever) and Rosalie Josephs, née Sternfeld (1847 Lemgo)
The Josephs belonged to the first families in the town of Jever; they were very widely branched, earning their living from cattle trading and butchery. Anna most likely attended the Jever Municipal School for Girls.

She met Moritz Kayser, and they were married on October 21st, 1906. Their daughter Ruth, the Kaysers‘ only child was born on September 14th, 1907 in Bremerhaven. Anna went to Hamburg with her husband and daughter, where they lived at Harvestehuder Weg 114. In October of 1936, she left Hamburg for Amsterdam, Holland; her daughter Ruth and her son-in-law Walter Rosenberg followed them to Amsterdam in December 1936. The families lived from the income of the joint company that father-in-law and son-in-law had founded together.

Following the death of her husband Nathan David in December, 1938, Anna‘s mother Rosalie Josephs moved to Amsterdam to join her daughter, according to the account Anna Kayser gave in a letter to her former Landlady at Harvestehuder Weg 114 in Hamburg, also sharing her joy about the delightful development of her little grand-daughter. That grand-daughter was Evelyne Jeanette Rosenberg, born September 16th, 1938, i.e. the great grand-daughter of Rosalie Josephs.

The financial conditions in Amsterdam were tough; Anna Kayser rented out rooms to make a living.

In the course of the investigation against Moritz Kayser, Anna Kayser had also been targeted by the police: this however, did not lead to an indictment. Little is known about her further life in Amsterdam.
On June 20th, 1943, Anna Kayser was deported to the KZ gathering camp Westerbork. At that time, her husband Moritz Kayser had already been dead for five months. From Westerbork, she was deported on to the Theresienstadt Ghetto and, 3 months later, on May 16th, 1944, to the Auschwitz extermination camp. Her daughter and son-in-law as well as her grand-daughter went the same way to destruction.

Anna Kayser was killed on July 7th, 1944, together with her daughter Ruth and der grand-daughter Evelyne. The date of the death of Walter Rosenberg is not known, there is only the "Declaration as Dead” of February 28th, 1945.

Translated by Peter Hubschmid

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Heidi Kahlke und Christina Igla

Quellen: Staatsarchiv HH: AfW 351-11 5929, 1567 + 6642, OFP (Devisen-und Vermögensverwertungsstelle 314-15, F1279 + Str294 (Band 1–5) Gefängnisverwaltung 252-1 II, St226, Ablage 10; Handschriftlicher Lebenslauf aus den Akten der Gefängnisverwaltung Meldewesen 332-8, A51/1 verfilmte Hauskartei 2430/2444; Kultussteuerkartei Nr. 4517 Moritz Kayser, Nr. 24099 Bernhard Weinberg, Nr. 6243 Walter Rosenberg; Gedenkstätte Yad Vashem, Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung" in Hamburg, Seiten 208–216; Brief vom 18.02.2011 von Herrn Hartmut Peters, c/o Mariengymnasium, Terrasse 3, 25441 Jever; (Biographie Bernhard und Friederike Weinberg; geschrieben von Beate Meyer);

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